Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Chip and Dale obtain the Roger Rabbit treatment in this meta-satire. A mix of traditional animation, CG animation and real actors who are enveloped in a mystery.
Genre: Adventure / Animation / Comedy
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Cast: Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, KiKi Lane, Will Arnet, Eric Bana, J.K. Simmons, Seth Rogen, Da'vone McDonald, Tim Robinson, Dennis Haysbert & Tress MacNeille
Run Time: 97 min.
US Release: 20 May 2022 (Disney+)
UK Release: 20 May 2022 (Disney+)
German Release: 20 May 2022 (Disney+)
As a kid born in the late 80s and growing up in the 90s, Chip ‘N Dale was part of my daily TV routine however, I do not harbour any sentimental feelings towards this Disney cartoon series. So when I heard of a Rescue Rangers movie being in production, I just thought of the typical Disney move of milking that nostalgia cow a little more. I did manage to stay away from trailers, as well as any information concerning this project, so imagine my surprise when I hit play! This is not a TV series turned into a film, it is something completely different. So let's talk about Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers!
Thirty years after their popular kids' show ended, the two chipmunks Chip and Dale find themselves back together, when a former cast member mysteriously disappears. both need to learn to put their differences aside to work together again, if they want to crack the case.
Dan Gregor and Doug Mand wrote a pretty smart script, focusing on a meta world where animated characters and real people live side by side, instead of creating a full-fledged Rescue Rangers movie that follows the TV series. Chip and Dale are two animated chipmunks that made it in Hollywood as actors during the late ’80s / early ’90s, through their breakout series The Rescue Rangers, Dale often breaks the 4th wall by talking to the audience, explaining the events that transpired at the end of the shows run.
The narrative contains a lot of homages to film noir pictures, as well as crime thrillers of the late 80s. The biggest influential factor, however, is obviously Who Framed Rogger Rabbit, containing a lot of similar story tropes. That is not to say that this is a complete rip-off, because Chip ‘N Dale is a very original tale, still, the similarities are blatantly obvious! Apart from the main plot, which centres around a kidnapping crime ring in which Chip and Dale get ensnared, the film side ventures a little to expose Hollywood, with its lack-lustre ideas of revamping / rebooting everything.
The comedic and dramatic moments are well balanced, entertaining from beginning to end, even surprising with cameos that I didn’t expect to see in a Disney production. Sadly, right around the middle mark, the narrative starts to deflate a little, sometime after the crime rings leader Sweet Pete is revealed. The ending is pretty generic for a flick that showed so much potential in its first 50 minutes, none-the-less it is a good time for old and young.
Dale, voiced here by Andy Samberg, and Chip who is voiced by John Mulaney, are best friends that drifted apart after their series Rescue Rangers got cancelled. The disappearance of their friend and former co-star Monterey Jack, brings them back together, although Chip is still angry at Dale for what transpired back in the day. Samberg and Mulaney have good chemistry, bouncing off each other well enough. The fallout between the two former stars, in addition to the different paths they took in life, serves as a good point of tension. Dale is looking for a comeback, while Chip has turned his back to Hollywood fame.
KiKi Lane as Officer Ellie Steckler is sweet, playing her part adequate but she sticks a little bit out like a sore thumb. In my opinion, she could have served well as a sidekick character but obtained just a little too much screentime, with a background story that was just a little too silly, even for a Disney hybrid picture.
Will Arnett lends his voice to Sweet Pete, the mastermind and ring leader of a cartoon kidnapping operation. Arnett does give a good performance, sounding surprisingly threatening at times but never loses his funny side. The character’s motivations are a little too generic but understandable enough, having lost all support from the industry at a young age. Pete is out for what he is due, ready to cross any line.
J.K. Simmons as Captain Putty, a claymation character, is hilarious. He is what seems a goofy police captain at first, but still waters run deep. I don’t want to give any more away as his character has a big surprise in tow.
The cinematography, helmed by Larry Fong, was a real treat! We not only obtain a crisp picture with very colourful moments, as you would expect from a Disney flick. Fong also makes use of a darker atmosphere, which is custom in detective movies or film-noir, with L.A. being the perfect setting for it. Other than that, the pacing is fast and the action is well-choreographed for a hybrid of animation.
The effects are good enough; traditional 2D animation, as well as CG animation, is competently blended into real life. The way CG upgrading is described as a form of “plastic surgery” for older 2D animated characters is hilarious. The different eras of computer animation are also represented on the silver screen, mocking the early cheap-looking and nearly robotic style.
The score is a mix of instrumental score and pop music, culminating with the original Rescue Rangers intro song in a modernized style, running through the end credits. It is a style that compliments this type of movie.
Verdict: Honestly, I did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did, the last half might be weaker than the first 50 minutes, but it was still entertaining from beginning till end. The script was well written, containing a lot of funny sarcastic comments about the industry. Elements of late 80s detective pictures were included that mimicked Who Framed Rogger Rabbit, while still telling a unique tale. Andy Samberg and John Mulaney are voicing the two lead chipmunks and have good chemistry, while the character of Ellie Steckler doesn’t always stick the landing. J.K. Simmons on the other side is really funny as Captain Putty. The cinematography is good, with the hybrid effects working well enough. I might not have been the biggest fan of the TV series as a child, but I am happy to see that someone cared about this project! Chip n’ Dale is more than just average and deserves that 6.5 out of 10.
Have you seen Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers yet? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and don’t forget to subscribe! Thank you for reading.